Governing Ana is proud to host Cara Bristol for today’s Fika. On select Mondays, we will sit down with a ttwd author to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting! Please welcome Cara for a discussion of how to incorporate domestic discipline within ttwd fiction.
*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends. It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics. While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community. In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.
By Cara Bristol
Domestic discipline fiction goes like this: heroine misbehaves – hero spanks her. The reason for the spanking creates a dilemma for the author.
Readers want likable characters they can root for. If the heroine’s offense is minor, readers dislike the hero because he looks like a bully. If she commits a serious offense that can be seen as a moral failing – infidelity, endangering the lives of her children, readers dislike her. So as an author, you have to skate a very thin line down the middle of the two extremes.
The notion of a woman being spanked is a retro concept, but readers bring modern sensibilities. They want strong, capable heroines. So how do you create an independent woman who is savvy and smart, yet somehow acts in a way that merits a spanking?
It’s a challenge to devise spankable offenses, but here are a few things to consider. First, both the hero and the heroine should have logical, believable reasons for their actions from their perspectives. The heroine must commit her offense for a good reason, not just because she’s being bratty or unkind. And the hero must be equally justified for spanking her.
In Sue Lyndon’s A Firm Husband, a western historical, the heroine wants to see the world so she hops a stage and runs away. Her father sends a neighboring rancher to retrieve her, and after she lies to avoid being taken home, he spanks her. Is it justifiable that a young woman might long to see the country? Absolutely. Is it justifiable that the people who care for her might not think it was a good idea? Absolutely.
(By the way, because women’s roles were so different long ago, historical and domestic discipline are two genres that mesh well together).
A second tactic is to remove the monkey of a dilemma off your back and put it on your character’s. Give your heroine a problem with no good solution and have her opt for the worst of two bad choices. But be sure to show how “torn” she is by her decision.
In False Pretenses, the second novel in my Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series, Emma Dupree is an aspiring journalist. She has a soul-sucking day job and is desperate to get out. She stumbles across a secret organization of men who spank their wives and goes undercover to get the scoop. But it turns out her new boyfriend is a member, and while she’s undercover, she makes friends with one of the spanked women. To write the story that will launch her career, she will have to betray her lover and friend.
Third, have your spankable offenses emerge from a story or plot that is outside the domestic discipline relationship. In Jade Cary’s The Point of it All, the story is a thriller, a romantic suspense about why a plastic surgeon is kidnapped by bad guys in Mexico. The rescuer finds the doctor months later hiding out with a band of gypsies after she’d escaped from her kidnappers. She doesn’t want to be rescued anymore, but intends to remain to help the people who’d hid her. But her rescuer has to complete his mission and bring her home. When she almost shoots off his ear, he spanks her to bring her under control so he can “save” her. Take away the spanking, and the story still stands. The hero could have saved the heroine some other way, but he didn’t. (But as a warning, many readers took offense to a kidnapped, traumatized woman being spanked by her rescuer. Others, however, loved this book).
Fourth, let your hero put your heroine in a bind. In Unexpected Consequences, the first Rod and Cane Society novel, Jared Traynor and his new bride have a domestic discipline marriage. Though she’s agreed to it, he wants to be sure she’s fully on board with the lifestyle. When she wants an expensive pair of shoes, though he secretly plans to surprise her with them, he tests her obedience by telling her no. She fails his test when she sneaks back and buys the shoes.
Domestic discipline requires an approval from the reader that other contemporary fiction doesn’t. A reader has to accept that spanking for discipline is okay on a basic level for purposes of the story to enjoy it. (They don’t have to accept it in real life.) To some people, the idea that a man punishes a woman is totally unacceptable even in fiction and you’ll never find an offense that warrants a spanking in their minds. But they’re not your audience.
Write for readers who enjoy spanking stories and for the ones who are new to the genre who might discover they like it.
Cara Bristol is the author of the Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline erotic romance series about men who spank and the women who love them. Unexpected Consequences and False Pretenses, the first two novels in the series, have been published by Loose Id. She recently submitted the third to her publisher, but is keeping mum on the title until it’s accepted. Her other spanking stories Intimate Submission and Secret Desires are available individually or in the anthology, Spanked! Her two non-spanking erotic romances are Reckless in Moonlight and A Scent of Longing.
Cara’s blog: http://www.carabristol.com
Cara’s Amazon Author page http://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1347039197&sr=1-2-ent